Cline Small Berry Mourvedre
is Cline Cellars top Mourvedre. In 1982, on leaving university, Fred Cline returned to his hometown Oakley, Contra Costa County (equidistant between Sacramento and San Francisco) to found the company that would become Cline Cellars
. There he started producing wines and restoring ancient vines. Today, Zinfandel
Carignane and Mourvèdre produced from these vines are some of the most unique and historic wines made in California - the coming together of the climate, the soil and the landscape are the epitome of Oakley terroir. In 1991, the winery relocated from Oakley to the Carneros region of Sonoma County on a historic 350-acre estate with new vineyards and facilities. While much of the cool Carneros region is planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot, Fred Cline pioneered the planting of Rhône varietals including Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. In 1997, Cline ventured further west into an even cooler growing area in eastern Petaluma
and again planted more Rhône varietals. The 100 plus year old Small Berry Mourvèdre vineyard is a small block that consistently produces one of Cline's most complex and concentrated Mourvèdre wines. The vines were originally planted on their own roots, which make this one of California’s most historic vineyards. Cline dry-farm these ancient, head-pruned vines continuing a practice that was employed by the Italian and Portuguese immigrants who planted them. The wine exemplifies the unique character of the varietal while showcasing the elegant flavours that are contributed by the phylloxera resistant sandy soils. The proximity of this vineyard to Eucalyptus
trees also contributes to Small Berry’s unique signature. In 2006, grapes from the Small Berry vineyard block were harvested at high natural sugar levels and treated gently in the cellar to emphasize the explosive fruit characteristics of the block. The fruit was almost entirely de-stemmed and lightly crushed, with a large proportion of whole berries remaining in the must. Fermentation occurred at moderate temperatures in stainless steel tanks. The wine was pressed after going dry and then racked to another settling tank before being put down to barrels. The wine is aged for 10 months in a combination of new (approximately 27%) and used French oak.This vineyard has always shown intense concentration of flavours due, in part, to the miniscule yields.
Tobacco, juicy plum, and eucalyptus-mint dominate this wine. With plenty of flesh and a firm balanced structure of acid and fine-grained tannins this is delicious now and will age beautifully for many years to come.